Many are rightly concerned about the potential for government interference in media regulation. But to simply cry “Free Speech!” and compare even a public interest test or an independent watchdog to Soviet repression is simplistic and melodramatic. Threats to free speech can come from any quarter, not only government but commercial and political interests and media monopolies as well (yes, I’m talking to you, News Ltd, among others). How do opponents of any regulation propose to deal with this? By doing nothing?
Ideally, information should be both unfiltered and unbiased, but these ideals can conflict, especially in the presence of well-resourced interests. The complex task of balancing them is patently not served any better by the “free market” than by centralised control. The significant difference between governments and corporations is that the latter cannot be voted out.